IN THIS ISSUE
CHRISTMAS IS A TIME OF JOY, AND ALSO OF REFLECTION; a moment to pause and cast our minds back over the events of the past 12 months. Sadly, this year has been almost unprecedented for the tragic loss of life in several major incidents: the baffling brutality of the Westminster Bridge and London Bridge terrorist attacks, the horror of the Manchester Arena bomb and the devastation of the Grenfell fire, less than a mile from where I’m writing this now. While for many, our instinct would be to flee from any such incident, there are others – police and fire officers, paramedics – whose first thought is to move towards the danger and to save lives. Many of these unsung heroes carry the trauma of what they have seen and dealt with for the rest of their lives. On page 32 we honour some of the brave women who waded into danger on our behalf at this year’s major emergencies. DO YOU EVER FANTASISE about spending the ‘third chapter’ of your life in a house shared with like-minded women? Last year, three 60-plus friends – Andrea, Sally-Mae and Lyn – set about doing exactly that, to the amazement of their children and grandchildren. One year on, we caught up with them ( page 56) and discovered the experiment has worked out even better than any of them imagined, offering them company, creativity, laughter and parties. FINALLY, IF YOU CAN FEEL THOSE STRESS LEVELS MOUNTING as Christmas gets closer and the to-do list gets longer, TV presenter Fearne Cotton – who has fought her own battles with anxiety and depression – offers her tips for staying calm when all around you is going crazy, page 26.